You may have heard about self-care and how we should practice more of it. Many women when hearing the word “self-care” would conjure up trips to the spa or bubble baths and think that this is what is meant by self-care.
Self-care can be those things. However, what I have discovered when working on my own healing of my Shadow Mother Archetype, is that when it comes to nurturing and caring for ourselves, this is a highly personalised experience.
What constitutes one woman’s idea of self-care may not be enjoyable to another. A point that was highlighted to me with my teenage daughters’ first experiences at a day spa.
Let me tell you what happened:
A couple of Christmases ago I thought it would be a good idea to plan a mum and daughter spa day as a special treat for my two teenage daughters. I booked and paid for massages, facials and mani-pedis. I was so excited to share this decadent treat with them! However, although this felt like an ultimate indulgence for me, they hated it!
You see, it turns out that they didn’t like to be touched by a stranger, something I had not considered!
Another thing that I have discovered about self-care is that mindset is key. The energy that you approach any experience where you care for and meet your needs makes all the difference. And this is where the beauty of a self-care ritual comes in.
What are Self-Care Rituals?
The difference between a routine and a ritual is not necessarily the action, but the attitude behind the action. On the face of it, a routine and ritual have the same physical outcome. However, on a deep human, spiritual and emotional level it couldn’t be more different.
A routine has little intention and can often be tedious and meaningless. Take for example having the self-care routine of having a shower. It is something that “has to be done”. It focuses on the “what” – the completion of tasks.
A ritual on the other hand is all about love and connection. As opposed to routines, rituals focus on the intent behind the tasks, the “why” and “how” they are performed. If we turn taking a shower into a self-care ritual, we may take time to enjoy the water and savour how this feels on our bodies. We may dry ourselves with a thick, luxurious towel and rub our bodies with beautiful body oils. We may take time to look at ourselves appreciatively in the mirror, noticing ourselves and feeding ourselves loving thoughts and compliments.
There is thought, preparation and care put into every part of the ritual. A good self-care ritual makes you feel loved and special. Rituals offer a sense of wonder and delight. They turn the everyday mundane routines into something magical and full of love.
Through the use of rituals, you communicate to yourself that this is your time and that value yourself. When you take the time to plan prepare execute something that is meaningful and heartfelt your soul feels this on a deep spiritual level.
When we create a self-care ritual for ourselves, we communicate “I see you, you are special to me, I care about you.”
7 Guiding Principles for an Intuitive Self-Care Ritual
These principles are adapted from the work of Dr Emmi Pikler, a post-WWII Hungarian Paediatrician who created an intuitive and respectful way to nurture the body, mind, and spirit of infants. These are principles that I share in my book When She Wakes, She Will Move Mountains.
Several of us, although some of us may already be grandmothers, may not have received nurturing in a motherly way, and this has deeply wounded us, a characteristic of the Wounded Mother archetype. However, it is never too late to mother yourself.
I share these principles with you so you too can practise self-care and self-love and heal the Wounded Mother archetype in yourself. When you follow these 7 principles you will be able to embody the energy of your Wise Woman Archetype and connect intuitively with yourself and give yourself what you need in your self-care ritual.
Principle One: Give Yourself Your Full Attention
Give yourself permission to be your sole priority– to lovingly provide yourself with the gift of your full attention. Ensure to choose a quiet time when you know you will not be interrupted. Remove any distractions from the room. Turn your phone on silent, and switch off any music or TVs. This is your time to receive the full expression of your love– a gift you are able to share so freely with others. This is your turn!
Principle Two: Make Sure You Slow Down
In the fast-paced environments, we are surrounded by, our lives become so busy that we can so easily get caught up in the temptation to rush, compare, and compete. This is not one of those times. Take your time. Resist the urge to rush. Feel into yourself, go at your own pace.
Principle Three: Build Trust and Your Relationship with Yourself During These Care-Giving Times
Over time, through constant and repeated breaks of agreements that you have set with yourself as well as perceived failures in life, we are often left with very little, or no trust left in ourselves. My mission is to support you in rebuilding that trust so you can fulfil a strong and rooted relationship with yourself again. A “ritual” is an expression of love and self-care. By creating a ritual, you are able to lovingly tune into giving yourself what you need, and in doing so restore the trust that you have in yourself.
Principle Four: Do Things “With” Yourself and Not “To” Yourself
We frequently drown out what feels right for us and continue to do what we think we “should” be doing instead of doing what we “know” is right for us. Self-care can be like this too. We can get so caught up in other people’s ideas of self-care that it can cause us to compare and doubt ourselves. Instead, make a commitment to yourself to only do what feels right to you during your self-care ritual.
Principle Five: Allow Yourself Freedom to Move
During the process of life, we are constantly growing and evolving. Give yourself permission to enjoy this freedom. Freedom to choose, freedom to think, freedom to feel, freedom to decide, freedom to grow, freedom to change, and freedom to become. Your ritual, your way!
Principle Six: Allow Yourself Uninterrupted Time for Play
For me, “play” means any time you experience that beautiful, euphoric feeling of flow. You may have experienced this “flow” before, or “being in the zone”, while sharing laughing with friends, dancing, cooking, gardening, singing, painting, writing, having sex, or exercising. Ask yourself, what feels like play for me? And then be sure to include this in your self-care ritual.
Principle Seven: Our Bodies, Hearts, and Souls Continuously Send Us Cues. Take Time to Tune in Respectfully
As mentioned above we are in a constant state of flow. As women, due to our cyclic natures, what feels good to us and life-affirming one day, may not feel right to us on another day. Take time to tune into what your body needs and honour these cues. I have prepared a FREE 5-day ritual for you to support you to start and enrich this practice for yourself. You can download it HERE.
I would love to hear about your experience.
Please let me know about your favourite self-care rituals in the comments below.
As a Midlife Mentor for Women I support Soul-Led, Midlife Women who are on an awakening journey, to reconnect with and love the woman behind the roles, the responsibilities and the weight of the expectations of others.
I help you to unlearn the beliefs, behaviours and stories that no longer serve you so that you can live the next half of your life in a way feels true to who you authentically are as the Queen of your own life!
Would you like to find out how to AWAKEN Your Own Queen? Buy My Book When She Wakes, She Will Move Mountains – 5 Steps to Reconnecting With Your Wild Authentic Inner Queen.